Ampun Tuanku, patik mohon derhaka

Posted on January 13, 2010

52


There was a time when a king could do no wrong.

Actually, it was not that the king could do no wrong, but one was not to notice the regal cock-up.

And if one did notice, one was not to advert to it.

Talk of the king boo-booing was treasonous.

And if such talk reached the ears of the king, you were liable to have your head parted from your neck.

But that was then.

Much has changed since.

Changed so much that, in some jurisdictions, kings who have done wrong have had their heads parted from their necks, by their very own subjects.

But that was then.

Much has changed since.

These days, people do not resort to the vulgarities of the past.

At least, more often than not, they do not.

Us, for instance.

We have laws.

And a supreme Constitution.

Supreme over all.

Without exception.

And just as it laid the foundation for our system of a constitutional monarchy with a unique system of rotation to fill that monarch’s position from amongst our sultans, so too the Constitution entrenched the fundamental rights of the monarch’s subjects.

Neither monarch nor subject can deny to each other what the Constitution bestows on both.

Take the recent decision of Her Ladyship, Justice Lau Bee Lan in the Herald case.

What did Her Ladyship declare?

I haven’t had the good fortune to read her written grounds of judgment, but, according to this Malaysiakini report, the learned judge had ruled that the “Catholic weekly The Herald can use the word ‘Allah’ and that the term is not exclusive to Islam” and “that all Malaysians had the constitutional right to use the word ‘Allah’ under Article 11 of the federal constitution which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of religion and the practice of it”.

That decision is under appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Let’s say that, much to our surprise, that appeal and a final appeal to the Federal Court fails.

That would confirm Justice Lau Bee Lan’s pronouncement to be good law.

Until her judgment is set aside on appeal, Justice Lau Bee Lan’s pronouncement represents the law.

That would mean that, as the good judge has pronounced, under the Constitution, all Malaysians shall have the constitutional right to use the word ‘Allah’ under Article 11 of the federal constitution which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of religion and the practice of it”.

No one, be he king or pauper, can deny any Malaysian that right, whilst Her Ladyship’s decision stands.

It is incumbent upon every self-respecting Malaysian to not countenance any move, by any means, from any quarter, to deny any Malaysian that right.

Posted in: Ramblings